Known for innovative sculptural experimentations with clay, Takuro Kuwata updates traditional Japanese ceramics with explosive results. By inserting large stones inside clay vessels prior to firing them, Kuwata encourages his objects to rupture and burst—to literally explode—as their form comes into being. While this technique, known as ishi-haze or “stone explosion,” traditionally involves small stones inserted into tea ceramics, Kuwata uses oversized rocks to obliterate his forms as they expand in the kiln, further highlighting their jagged edges and surfaces with his own take on the Shino-yu “cracking glaze” technique. Born in Hiroshima, yet generationally removed from the aftermath of World War II, Kuwata offers a view of contemporary Japanese anxiety. In works such as Red-slipped stone-burst washtub (2013), for example, the shattered surface visually recalls the country’s traumatized topography following a series of devastating earthquakes. While not explicitly political, his exploded vessels provide an aesthetic correlation to the natural disasters and postwar strife in Japan.
Takuro Kuwata is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by Jeffrey Uslip, Chief Curator / Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Programs.